the looming split election

October 12th, 2018

I see the National Review is running columns raving about the genius of the Founding Fathers for establishing a system where the Senate map of 2018 would be so heavily tilted toward the Republicans and conservative-wise.

None of this is to suggest that the Kavanaugh effect is not real. It is just to serve as a reminder that Senate elections are only a dim or distorted picture of public opinion. That was by design, as the Framers of the Constitution originally gave the power of selecting senators to state legislatures. But even after the passage of the 17th Amendment, which mandated popular elections for all senators, we still see the upper chamber’s strange relationship to public opinion. President Donald Trump is unpopular, and his Republican party looks likely to lose a substantial number of seats in the House, which was designed to reflect public opinion. But thanks to the peculiarities of the Senate classes, the GOP may walk away from the November midterm having netted a seat or two in the upper chamber.

The senate’s Democrats locked in by previous cycles when they did good for 2006 and 2012, and not able to advance into these southern and small states, and having to retreat in these border states.  Just as Jefferson had it: the lower chamber full of ruffians, the upper chamber –…

New Jersey:  It is worth noting, that embattled but probably safe Democratic incumbent Bob Menendez, is — due to committee seating — the Democratic face of any bi-partisan efforts in grilling President Trump on the Jamal Khashoggi Affair.  Or, I suppose, threading the fine line back to kissing Saudi butt.

Gives the guy something useful to do, instead of having to explain how he nearly escaped indictment.

Arizona:  The problem presented when your one time role as a social critic clashes with your growing political ambitions.  This particular one may not be too bad, per se, broadly speaking — the “Drain the Swamp” is about the same as calling out a “meth lab o democracy”, and in theory she’d be there to “fix it”… the specifics spell out the weathervane evolution.

Interesting in that it was the donor class speaking that tripped up Obama, Romney, and Hillary in previous elections.  Here, it’s the activist class for Kyrsten Sinema.

Missouri:  Republican candidate Josh Hawley has “pastor problems”… kind of.  Probably not.  Cue comments of “Jeremiah Wright” — which here and there I would heare the rejoinder of “Billy Graham’s phone conversations with Richard Nixon!”

I do find this noteworthy:

Barton’s 2012 book, “The Jefferson Lies,” which made the New York Times’ bestseller list, disputed what it called the “myth” of Thomas Jefferson’s relationship with Sally Hemings and even cast him as a civil rights visionary.

I think I saw the book once.  His brother did it… his brother a rapscallion shady moral figure, evidentally.  It’s where you have to go to skip past the dna evidence, and does fail Oscam’s Razor.

The perils of being in the market of a competitive race.

Heye, the GOP operative, got an on-the-ground feel for how McCaskill’s vote against last year’s tax overhaul has become a rallying point for her opponent. He vacationed in Lake of the Ozarks over the Labor Day weekend and recalled constant ads on a music app hitting McCaskill for her vote.

“Every commercial break — regardless of whether it was the Tom Petty channel or Johnny Cash or some Top 40 — every actual commercial would be anti-McCaskill,” Heye said. “Quite often it would be an ad that hit her for voting against the growing economy by voting against the tax bill. I didn’t hear those ads four times. I heard them 40 times.”

Still, it may not resonate with voters, according to Peverill Squire, a political science professor at the University of Missouri, who has followed the race.

For one thing, isn’t this ad being shot at by the converted?  Can’t they micro-target it away from “Republican operative” to a more swingy demographic?

North Dakota:  Skipping past the atonal in not addressing the logic of the “Strong Women Prairie Pioneers” line, what I find myself is totally puzzled right about here:

“Well she admits she was a 15-year-old that had been drinking at a party that — I mean, how many 15-year-olds handle a lot of alcohol, you know, 36 years ago? When it wasn’t that common, by the way. … Thirty-six years ago it wasn’t that common for 15-year-olds to be at booze parties,” Cramer said.

I don’t understand.  High School Booze parties did not exist in 1980s America?  I don’t understand the world Representative Kevin Cramer is selling here.

West Virginia:  Well, what better use of the Opiod fighting money is there besides the helicopter?

Big question explored: why is Joe Manchin a Democrat?  Admittedly, diverting funds from one thing to another is a bi-partisan affair.

Montana:  Interesting enough.  Sarah Vowell’s dad is voting for Jon Tester.  Seems to be stylistic, frankly… he has the haircut going for him, and the missing fingers.

Tennessee:  So, the big news with the Phil Bredesen campaign … is that Jame O’Keefe’s old outfit — Project Veritas — has “shocking” video footage of low level certainly to the candidates’ left volunteer staffers rationalizing and justifying to prospective (“undercover journalist) liberal voters Bredesen’s stated moderation and support of Kavanaugh.

In addition to disapproval from volunteers and supporters, three staff members of the Tennessee Democratic Party at Bredesen’s campaign offices in Nashville also appeared disappointed in a secretly recorded video produced by the far-right political group Project Veritas Action Fund, known for its “sting” operations on Democratic politicians. The video, heavily edited and misleading or false at times, showed staff members claiming the move to support Kavanaugh was a political one to gain more support in the conservative state, rather than to show Bredesen’s true feelings about Kavanaugh.

Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Mary Mancini told Newsweek in a statement the people shown in the video are field organizers with Tennessee Victory 2018, an umbrella grassroots organization of the state party that works to elect Democrats across the state. They are not staff members of the Bredesen for Senate campaign.

“For weeks, a young woman claiming to be a supporter volunteered and gained their trust,” said Mancini, referring to the woman secretly recording the staffers who labeled herself as a “journalist” in the video. “Then, per the usual slimy tactics of [James] O’Keefe and Project Veritas, she betrayed that trust for cynical political gain.”

Federal Election Commission records show the three staffers identified in the video–Delaney Brown, Will Stewart and Maria Amalla–are paid by the state’s Democratic Party. Tennessee Democratic Party Spokesman Mark Brown told Newsweek they were “simply expressing their opinions to someone they thought was a friend” and do not have “access to any high-level campaign strategy or messaging, and no one in that video knows the inner thoughts of Governor Bredesen.”

Tennessee Victory 2018 said it was considering legal action against Project Veritas.  

It’s better than their other attempt.

Texas:  Beto O’rourke’s campaign war chest in what looks to be a losing effort … shouldn’t that be enough to string in a few Congessional critters and down-ticket state legislators?  And beyond which…

“It will be bad for everyone, Beto included, if he finishes his race with money in the bank when that money could’ve helped elect Democrats in Missouri, Tennessee or North Dakota,” Mr. Miller added.

At the moment, the only race of those three where this line of logic — “throw some of your money to the DSCC” — makes sense is the Missouri race.

I see the team of Nate Silver’s 538 postulate that should he go on to lose… he may just be Presidential timber for the Democrats!  (Should he win, of course, his career is now bogged down as “Senator”.  Such is the logic of our current politics.)

Bredesen is a Republican, so why are conservatives upset with Taylor Swift?

October 9th, 2018

Conventional wisdom... and we gauge the purple states turn blue and the red states move further red for this election.

Tennessee:  Polls had shown Marsha Blackburn polling ahead of Phil Bredesen, where before it had been even – putting all this time (enough for the one “political forecaster that refuses to do toss-ups” to give Bredesen the inched edge).  It’s possible that the “Kavanaugh Effect” only revealed the numbers that were there already and would have been realized one way or the other — the twist here being that this one is the Democrat who came out for confirming Kavanaugh — and indeed, against Charles Schumer as party leader, and indeed is trying very hard to remind everyone that he was “The Best Republican Governor” Tennessee ever had…

(Seriously, I don’t know what makes him a Democrat.)

Which makes Taylor Swift’s support … all the more interesting.  And I suppose this is an elliptical way to address that matter…

For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway.

Bredesen will now completely disavow the reasons that Taylor Swift gave for supporting him.

And maybe this particular drop of Bredesen in the polls is the result of the left flank disillusioned… and with that, that is Taylor Swift holding back up — and, cute headline Rolling Stone.  We’ll know that she made the difference for certain if Bredesen wins by less than 65,000.

Does Ivory Tower even have a meaning?

Arizona:  Democratic candidate for Senate… Kyrsten Sinema is getting in hot water for… exaggerating her Horatio Alger background.  A little bit different than John Edwards — not so much the son of a mill worker as the son of a mill owner — her story ends up being one where she grew up dirt poor but instead was claiming to have been dust poor.  Did the shabby gas station she lived in for a time have running water and a stove?
The other grand issue with Sinema is interesting… a one time Green Party activist, she now considers Joe Manchin her political lodestar.  Where did some anti-war flyers of skeleton troops fit into the picture, I don’t know… and, hm… well, it all needs to be blunt, don’t it?
All of which adds up to the old saw — it was Winston Churchill that said, if you weren’t a radical in your youth you have no heart; if you’re not an opportunistic weathervane later, you have no head.

Nevada:  Puzzled.

“If you look what’s going on right now in society, it’s an old playbook,” Rep. Rosen said in an interview with Cheddar. “When Sen. Heller photoshops my eyebrows, or they ask, ‘Why does a woman feel she’s qualified?’ Those are just very sexist questions, it’s an old playbook that they’re trying to use, because Sen. Heller specifically cant stand on his record, and so he needs to attack me as a woman.”

Hm.  Would they do this to a man?  Actually… maybe.

I suppose the obvious response from Heller is to make it the theme that “Representative Jacky Rosen is raising eyebrows”… on this and that liberal thingy.

Florida:  The race moves in a few different spots.  First of all, the two candidates are — reportedly — just boring everyone.  Second, apparently Charlie Crist is claiming that Bill Nelson is just getting too damned old...
Should go over well in Florida?

Well, youth and vitality and excitement are seen in the governor’s race… which is what’s going to have to propel one of the two senate candidates across the line —

Funny how a self published Ron DeSantis “tea party” book is getting played differently… see here, as opposed to here.

Worth noting:

One of the most disturbing claims he made in the book was that Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court justice, was wrong to suggest the founding fathers’ failure to abolish slavery in the Constitution was a fundamental flaw.

“For someone like Marshall, this failure overshadows the numerous and long-lasting political achievements embodied in the structural foundations of the government that have nothing to do with the institution of slavery,” DeSantis said. […]

If DeSantis had simply left it at the fact that tolerating slavery was essential to get the Southern states on board, he might have had a point. But for him to claim the Constitution somehow preordained the end of slavery as written is pure whitewashing, given that it took a bloody civil war to amend it to do so.

That particular point would be echoing the stated views of Abraham Lincoln’s — politically convenient and not those of the Abolitionists he was sliding into an electoral coalition.  For what it’s worth.

Texas.  Ted Cruz decided CNN not part of his strategy, not who he’s speaking for, gonna try for an “equal time” with Fox News?

we’re all screwed

October 6th, 2018

I think it was Kurt Vonnegut.. but it may have been someone else… (echoing a theme from Frank Zappa, who may also be the man who said it… )… and worthwhile in staring at voting patterns and commentary post Kavanaugh.

Jocks and cheerleaders vote Republican; nerds and hoods Democratic.  And at that, Kavanaugh’s confirmation and the just past circus show helps Republicans in the districts and states where high school football is king…

The Kind of Kid who’d listen to UB40 in the 80s… interesting to note, they delayed their US tour… which I thought may have had something to do with this story, but looking closer — no, this was “best of release” delay related…
We’re also in familiar territory… there are two UB40s touring about (band split up and formed around two different nuclei)… and also they express some surprise at the conservative right winger listening to our “socialist” band.  (Shades of Paul Ryan and Rage Against the Machine.)  Sure, but the band had sold out its message for their big hits
And… we’re just a little stuck here with a story that smacks of “why do I care?

I hear a person on a local news posit that had Kavanaugh come out in Senate testimony with a kind of “Her testimony was credible enough, even though I don’t remember anything like that, and I was drunk a lot of the time and had some bad attitudes that I can’t say for sure I didn’t do it, but it is not who I am or have been in my adult life” — and squaring it with the idea that that would have produced a bi-partisan outpouring for support and some productive national and international dialogue on real concerns and issue…
I don’t buy it.  He’d be cast in the line of Brock Turner, and we’d be stuck on some kind of “we’re supposed to be patting him on the back and say ‘yah’ to this entitled frattie?”…
The Republican on the panel (former gubernatorial candidate) shifts his focus on the overweening powers that have been invested in the Supreme Court and the idea that this is where politicos punt over the tough issues.

Blowing it.  A flyer stuck in those free boxes posits the quote from Lindsey Graham… “This is what you get when you go through a trailer park with a hundred dollar bill.”  I know the quote as stemming from James Carville circa 1991 – 1992 on allegations against Bill Clinton.  If Graham is saying it, he’s referencing Clinton.  As it were, the basic gist of the thing — never mind the trailer park reference and the dollar amount, but it is that grifters abound and publicity hounds too — comes true in  allegation number three and Michael Avenatti — always a story bound to undercut the case.  The question that lingers… for the future… when unwelcome parties jump into the fray like that, what do you do to shove ’em away?  (The state media for the Democratic Party, MSNBC, could decline a platform, maybe?)

I have a theory, based on a snippet in news coverage (listening on npr) which stated Trump officials were working the phones on convincing everyone, and “even Democrats”… at a point in time when everyone was accounted for except Manchin… that Trump and Manchin had a Gentleman’s Deal.  Trump would cease campaigning in West Virginia.  Just… watch to see if West Virginia continues to be on the President’s itinerary.

And, granted, he’s up in the polls, so the president would have an excuse… even as he jumps over to Mississippi of all places… It is worth pointing out, to the hemmers “You’re up by double digits… you have room for this”… hm… he was up by double digits, until he was then up by high single digits.

Apparently the Senate race in Indiana — nothing much just happened? — will come down to competing rallies from Donald Trump and Joseph Biden.

The corrupt Democratic incumbent in New Jersey, — who, I don’t know, can the Democrats just promise that if elected, he’ll be summarily shoved aside and replaced in a fortnight?  (That’s essentially what Oregon Democrats did with John Kitzhaber in his last election) — apparently feeling the need to get the race onto a national positioning of Ds versus Rs as his polls start to sink  — and we have the tweet that shows where Senatorial discourse is in this day and age…

Just read the FBI report on Kavanaugh – if that’s an investigation, it’s a bullshit investigation.

Hold on… the norm’s have been re-calibrated

Yes, Democrats can pick up a House seat in West Virginia this cycle. Richard Ojeda, a state senator and veteran, supported Trump for president in 2016 only to turn against him, saying he “hasn’t done shit” for people in West Virginia. This is how Ojeda speaks—loosely—and it’s led us to a surreal situation in which we have President Trump and the Republican candidate, Carol Miller, suggesting that Ojeda is too inappropriate for Congress. At a recent West Virginia rally, Trump called him a “complete whacko” and “stone-cold crazy.” All of this has been funneled into a Miller ad that expresses shock at someone using “personal attacks” being sent to Washington. What a world.

We’re back at Alexis Torqueville’s horror at seeing Davey Crockett in the House.

….

Try to find the “center“… which, maybe you can get to if you pull away the politicos.

Um?

Too afraid for either of us to speak Weinstein’s name, he used a nonspecific pronoun: “They would come after you with everything they have. Look what’s going down with Gawker,” he said, citing the soon-to-be-shuttered news site that had been destroyed by a vindictive rich person. 

Yeah… I hate to be “that dude”, but… I kinda have to side with the “vindictive rich person” on this one.

We are in weird terrain with some of the commentary… like, which set of elites do you identify with here?  Is that the basic tribal message for the plebes?

the ron paul revolution evolves…

October 4th, 2018

 

The candidate is one of three running this election season that has been endorsed by Ron Paul.  And this is the only way he gets any media coverage outside a few aspersions to possible “spoiler role”.  I suppose there might be something to a de-centralized campaign a libertarian philosopher king would endorse?

“Instead of paying for ineffective jail sentences, Ryan Bundy proposes to The People of Nevada a more efficient retribution process: ‘eye-for-an-eye,’” the site said.

The post, which Bundy had removed from the website after he saw it, was done by campaign manager Cardiff Gerhardt without approval.

“Once I read it, I took it down,” Bundy said.

Gerhardt’s post went on to call for not one death sentence for someone convicted of multiple murders, but rather one death sentence for each act of murder, with the convicted apparently being brought back to life multiple times to fulfill this.

“If you murder 10 people, you will be murdered 10 times before your freedom is returned to you (we can remove the final resuscitation if the prisoner so chooses),” the site said.

I would suggest that he’s suggesting that the multiple death penalties is literally flogging a dead horse, but that’s not correct… it is closer to being more literal than normally suggested with the expression, though.

Come to think of it, if you’re guilty of bestiality, would the animal be screwing you?

The problems for Next Time… and maybe even this time

October 3rd, 2018

Put aside the details, put aside the specifics… and I’m left with these…

(1) 11th Hour Revelations are things that ought be avoided if possible.  And maybe if you wind this back, Dianne Feinstein played it as well as she could have — in part because the Republicans aren’t necessarily playing in good faith, but you can’t blame the immediate “Are you kidding me?” cry of “bad faith”.
As it continues, 11th hour accusations and October Surprises proliferate and bring about some diminishing returns.  (Meehaps an example is Trump 2016?)

(2)  I’ve seen that statistic.  94 percent.  I don’t know what it means, as at some point a judgement call needs to be made, but 94 percent of sexual assault (or maybe it’s rape?) allegations prove to be true.  That stat is thrown out to counter the calls for “due process” and in arguing for levels of evidence required to convict someone.  And sure.  But if you want to lower the percentage — if by a statistically insignificant sum — what you do is set up the political process where an allegation under a “Believe All Women / Victims” chant — sinks an unwelcome career — to sink political directions… because the stakes are high enough to pull it in.

(3) I don’t really know how you thread this needle in posting up high school and college indiscretions as both evidence of lying under oath on ancillary matters and showing the culture where the crime could happen, but this is creating a spot where non political people moving in and out of the story can say “We’re battling high school drinking habits and adolescent humor?”  Different definitions of “identity politics” brings you to “Can you survive that scrutiny?” and “I’d have to justify something there?”  (I can easily explain some comments left in my high school yearbook, but I wouldn’t want to.)  Again, we’re ignoring this specific case and I’m wanting to lay out the precedent of the problems of this trial as you move forward to the next trial.

(4) The rules of moral panics… even moral panics that start from points of legitimate concerns of immorality … gives as that third “gang rape party” allegation the spectre of Michael Avenatti.  The story falls apart on impact, and with the initial “Not … helping” from leading Democrats validated, even as it moved to tepid forms of support (Dick Durbin jumping in that “she put her neck on the line”) and movement into discourse — corroborated as it were by John Hughes movies of the 1980s — and casually sliding in as points of fact in various think editorials.  So it becomes a line of incredulity for the Republican Senators on the Judiciary Committee and Donald Trump himself — defacto evidence against the initial “was credible” accuser.  It’s an unwanted distraction, and easily viewed as such from the get-go … and yet, you’re having to weed it away.
Satanic Ritual Abuse, shades of.

the plight of the red state Democrats

October 3rd, 2018

The conventional wisdom has it that Kavanaugh is a loser for the Republicans in the US House, and — because of the sheer non democratic nature of the Senate and the terrain it’s being battled on — perhaps a winner for the US Senate.

And so goes a calculus in nationalizing the election and letting the House go (with a perhaps stipulation that a wave of “shy Tories” under-represented in the polls because it’s perhaps socially unacceptable in their circles to back Trump – Kavanaugh), because the Senate nation 2018 is in Trump Land.

What we have in terms of candidate stance break-down.  Beto O’Rourke (Texas) and Phil Bredesen (Tennessee) are left clearing up lost “double bind vaguely hypocritical” aspersions and scandals, even as O’Rourke’s political positioning has him opposing Kavanaugh as a matter of course and Bredesen would probably just like to insist “I’m not going to be in a position of voting on this judge.”

The review from the Oct. 10, 1991 edition of the paper was written under the byline Robert O’Rourke and offers a sharp critique of the musical “The Will Rogers Follies.”
O’Rourke criticized the “perma-smile actresses whose only qualifications seem to be their phenomenally large breasts and tight buttocks.”
He wrote that the entire performance was “one of the most glaring examples of the sickening excesses and moral degradations of our culture.”
O’Rourke said the show was “produced and directed in such a showy, glitzy, and ultimately, tacky manner, that one cannot help feeling disgusted throughout the show.”

This begs the question: how was O’Rourke supposed to suggest that the actresses were talent-less and the show was selling up their sex appeal?

Jon Tester (Montana) and Claire McCaskill (Missouri) are no votes, but largely citing other matters —

“I have concerns that Judge Kavanaugh defended the Patriot Act instead of Montanans’ privacy,” Tester said in a statement. “I have concerns about his support for more dark money in politics. I have concerns about who he believes is in charge of making personal health decisions. And I have deep concerns about the allegations of sexual assault against Judge Kavanaugh.”

Citing “dark money” in politics as the main reason for her opposition, McCaskill released a lengthy statement through her office Wednesday evening.

The great comedy on Claire McCaskill is that competing polls showing the neck and neck race moving in two directions are being cited by liberal news / commentary sources and conservative news / commentary sources to posit their narrative.

Joe Donelly (Indiana) and Heidi Heitkamp (North Dakota) stuck himself in a bind for trying to get behind a “we need an FBI investigation that is being stone-walled” position.  It appears Heitkamp is sinking — already a tad sank anyways — and we’ll wait to see if Donelly hangs about.

Joe Manchin (West Virginia) probably sums up how he’ll sell what I imagine will end up being a no vote…

To those who might not give him their support based on how he votes during Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, Manchin offered an apology.
“I’m sorry you’re a one-issue voter,” he said.

As it were, Heitkamp and Manchin in particular will be changing the topic to other matters quickly — Manchin in particular probably has been given something of an out from President Trump in that he can now proclaim the greatness of his NAFTA 2.0 “USMCA” deal, and tie himself with Trump on that traditionally Democratic issue (though not on the presidential level) that won him Manchin’s constituency (if over to neighboring states).

And it is comical that Trump made his latest “outrageous” statements in Mississippi where… can you consider that senate race an actual competitive race?

One last note — evidently the Russians are sending out massive propaganda in Utah against Senate candidate Mitt Romney.  Comedy.  It should cost the candidate ten points so he’ll win by 40 instead of 50.

4 Senate races…

September 27th, 2018

#1:  Phil Bredesen has made the announcement that he’s not voting for Chuck Schumer for Senate leader.  I’m not really sure how this plays out, in a 50-49 Senate.  Can Schumer organize with a 50-49-1 vote?

It’s a stand in for what he had been planning to differentiate himself from the national Democratic party — before the rape allegations, he was going to come out for the Kavanaugh confirmation.  As it were now, he’s campaigning and saying that it won’t matter if you send him on over, he’s not going to be the man that puts the Democrat in the majority.  Which is interesting, because the likelihood is that if he does win… he very well could be.  (Unless you think the Democrats are going to get to 52?)

A very odd campaign strategy, his.

#2:  Skipping over to the exciting race in Mississippi… which… looks as though it is technically going to be unresolved after the November general election — with two Republicans splitting a majority vote and one Democrat vying… somehow needing to clear that 50 plus one threshold.  George Will has talked this race up, I suppose trying to land somewhere idiosyncratic in his Never Trumper Republicanism.  And Joe Trippi sells it as a possible recurrence of the Alabama senate race, and in doing so downplays the role the teen sexual predator allegations had in tripping Roy Moore up with the splits in the party in Alabama that allowed Doug Jones to win.  (Push back to the comparison also point out that the black voters who came out in Alabama are more urbanly centered, and thus easier to mobilize, than Mississippi’s black populace… but it’s worth pointing out Thad Cochran beat back McDaniel by mobilizing what black Democrats in the primary run-off… as per the state’s odd open primary for anyone who didn’t vote in the other party in the first primary law.)

We now see Trump stumping for the mainline Republican candidate and her focusing her campaign in the area that McDaniel won against his last Republican fight, against the incumbent Thad Cochran.  Seemingly with the idea of beating back McDaniel’s non commitment to her candidacy in the next round.  Given the stakes… a distinct possibility that election day 2018 will produce a 50-49 or maybe even 51-48 balance to the Democrats — where either this race will decide if Schumer or McConnell are the Majority leader or will be a manner to salvage some party victory from a ruinous election cycle… it’s difficult to see how his voters will end up costing Cindy Hyde-Smith the election either with a spite vote for the scary Black Democrat or an apathy not vote… but then again… odd things happen.

#3:  The quest of Ted Cruz to soften his image, and become more likable.  Yes, I know… he played a game of basketball with Jimmy Kimmel.  But beyond that, what he might do is hire a bunch of angry protesters to heckle him during dinner at a restaurant.  That’ll get him some sympathy from even hardened foes.

#4:  And here’s an interesting profile of Joe Manchin, out in West Virginia.   And… sigh… the little people make him tear up so much…

“Some days, I just watch,” Manchin told me in a near whisper. “People riding a lawn mower—I envy ’em so much.” There almost seemed to be a catch in his throat. He appeared thrilled by their industriousness, their unimpeded productivity. “Not a fuckin’ worry in the world,” he continued. “Put the earphones on and let ‘er rip.”

Nothing stopping him from riding lawn mowers… oh, wait.  He lives on a boat.  Never mind.  That’s why he envies lawn mowerers.

Then there’s this…

The other parts of being a senator, though, can sometimes seem tricky. One day last year, I was with Manchin as he rode the subway car beneath the Capitol to vote on the Senate floor. A few minutes earlier, Barack Obama, in one of his final acts as president, had announced that he was commuting Chelsea Manning’s prison sentence for leaking classified information, and one of Manchin’s aides broke the news to the senator. Although Manchin serves on the Senate Intelligence Committee, it was clear from the befuddled look on his face that he had no idea who Manning was.

“Bradley—uh, Chelsea—Manning was the Army private that downloaded a bunch of information in Iraq and then gave it to WikiLeaks,” the aide explained.

“That’s treason,” Manchin said, still no closer to knowing what his aide was talking about.

“Yes, sir,” another aide went on. “And while he was in prison, he had a sex-change operation.”

Manchin’s eyes flashed with recognition.

“I thought that was the one that became a girl!” he shouted. “That son of a bitch!” He slammed his fist on the subway car’s seat. “And we’re letting him out now because he’s docile?!”